Just Stop

An Open Letter to the Entertainment Industry

It seems that a lot of movie makers feel some strange obligation to include a certain amount of garbage in their films, and it’s been this way for a long time. The vast majority of us are fed up with having unnecessary junk littered through out our movie watching experience. So let me make it abundantly clear: Nudity, sex, and sociopolitical commentary just don’t belong in movies whose goal is to entertain. Period.

It has always been frustrating – and sometimes embarrassing – when watching a film or TV show which seems to just insert a sex scene for no apparent reason. It doesn’t advance the plot or add anything substantive to the story. In fact, it just gets in the way of the flow of things – especially in action movies or shows. None of us watch an action flick to see pornography. We watch to see car chases, gun fights, and explosions. So please, just stop!

Today, this has gotten worse. Now, out of some need to be all-inclusive, many filmmakers think they have to include gay scenes and more. They’ve missed the bigger picture, as their motives are more about virtue signaling than about making actual entertaining movies. And people object to it, not just because it’s catering to the alphabet mafia, but because we simply don’t want ANYTHING that distracts from the storyline.

Over the years, I recall so many movies that I was totally enjoying until they started trying to tell me what to think about some social – often controversial – issue. Again, I don’t watch sci-fi to get some lesson in sociopolitics. As a big fan of Star Trek, I had a number of occasions when an episode was completely ruined because someone decided to insert some controversial commentary. That’s not what we want from our entertainment sources.

Speaking of Star Trek, I loved most of the TNG/DS9/Voyager era shows. I tolerated a little profanity in the movies that followed. I understood the comedic aspect of having Data, an android, finally receive his emotion chip and say “Oh sh*t” when the Enterprise D began falling toward a planet. Like it or not, it made sense for his character – who was struggling with all these new emotions – to actually say something like that. And since it was so different from his normal emotionless and deadpan delivery of lines, it added a moment of comic relief to an otherwise intense scene where the ship was about to crash. I have to admit, that was entertaining.

But when Paramount Studios released the first season of Star Trek Picard, I was shocked and exceedingly disappointed to hear the F-bomb dropped – and dropped a lot. My thought was, “That’s just not Star Trek-esque.” That word especially simply didn’t belong. It seemed as if the writers placed it into the dialogue just because they could, or to try and make the show edgy, or perhaps to appeal to a broader audience. But it only seemed awkward and gratuitous, especially to long-time Trek fans like myself.

When the film Gone with the Wind debuted in 1939, there was great controversy over Rhett Butler’s line, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” This seems somewhat laughable by today’s standards – and I use that term loosely because a lot of these movies today seem to be lacking in the standards department. My point is that we have been conditioned over time to accept – or at least tolerate – certain things like profanity in entertainment. And sure enough, over time, it appears they’re trying to condition us to accept a lot more. There’s a word for that, folks. It’s called manipulation. Again I say, just stop!

We love to be entertained, we love the excitement and drama and action, and we really love a good story. But we don’t like being manipulated. We don’t like being inundated with sexuality and vulgarity. And we definitely don’t like it when the plot and flow of a film blatantly pauses in order to throw in a virtually pornographic scene. It’s not just offensive – it’s annoying! So, just stop!

There’s so much more I could say on this topic, and so many more examples I could give of shows and movies that would be 100% better without the garbage. But we’ve all had those experiences at one time or another. The entertainment industry has too long been yet another tool used to shape how we think and feel about things. And I know there are some out there who think I’m overreacting. You’re probably reading this and saying, “If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.” And if so, then you just made my greater point. Because millions of us have stopped watching a lot of the junk being put out there.

That’s why I’m so glad to finally see entities besides Hollywood get into the business and begin to offer entertainment that leaves out all the trash we don’t want. At last, faith-based groups and others are realizing there’s a big gap to be filled when it comes to non-woke and more wholesome storytelling. Finally, someone is putting out the true entertainment we want!

If Hollywood is going to effectively compete with these new entities, the message is very clear… Entertain us with good stories, wholesome comedy, and the stuff we actually watch for. No more unnecessary trash mucking up the works! Cut out the gratuitous nudity, sex, and profanity! Enough already with all the sociopolitical commentary! Just stop! And get back to making the good stuff… Ya know, like Rio Bravo. (one of my all-time faves)

I’m Stace Massengill, and I’m just sayin’.

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